Marketing is a continually evolving field; an evolvement that is highlighted in an infographic from Infogroup Targeting Solutions that looks at marketing tools and strategies from the last 50 years.

The 1960’s: Mass Appeal

The infographic, "Evolution of Marketing Data: The Path to Personalization," starts with the 1960's micro-scaled, mass appeal marketing approach, which was done by sending out campaign and promotional items through the mail. Although the campaign reached its audience, customers have different likes and dislikes, so it wouldn't have appealed to everyone.

Over the next few years marketing started to become less generalized and more focused. In 1963 the United States adopted zip codes and state abbreviations which helped advertisers target specific markets based on location, while 1967 saw the introduction of the term "direct marketing." Marketers started to target customers based on defining factors, such as household income, age and gender.

These developments show that not everyone can relate to a general ad, so in becoming more targeted marketers were able to make bigger consumer impact.

The 70s and 80’s: Introducing Database Marketing

During the 1970's and 1980’s the biggest change, according to the infographic, was the creation and "fine-tuning" of database marketing tools. Through the launch of places such as International Association for Statistical Computing and commercial availability of Relational Database Management Systems, marketers could organize key stats from their campaigns, which in turn would allow them to create a better strategy for future campaigns.

The 1990’s: A Little More Personal

During the 1990’s marketing was focused on channel management, which was done through the launch of customer relationship management(CRM) tools. During this decade, the internet started to make an impact on a person’s everyday life, as computers were starting to become household items.

Through the creation of AOL and Compuserve it was more about communication with the rise of personal email accounts. For marketers this presented a new medium for direct marketing and personalization, but also gave them another consumer group to work with. Marketers could now send an advertisement to a customer in the mail, promote it in a newspaper or magazine, call customers to get their opinion on a new product and also send out a personal email.

Due to this, there needed to be a way to manage these channels and monitor data, which is why CRM solutions were needed. 

Learning Opportunities

The 2000’s: Mobile and Social

The rise of computers and computing devices become even more noticeable at the turn of the 20th century as users began spending more and more time on the internet each day. In 2008, the average person spent 12 hours consuming information, many of which was spent on websites, search engines and social media, but that’s not the only thing connected to marketing that changed during this time. The Do Not Call Registry was started which limited how reliable telecommunication data was and the email guideline CAN-SPAM Act was created allowing recipients to opt out of emails.

While these "older" forms of marketing became a bit more limited, there were two positive developments during the mid-2000’s: smartphones and social media. With smartphones and other mobile devices marketers can now use text messaging or SMS as a way to reach customers and social media has given businesses a way to connect with customers in a one-on-one capacity. 

Today: The Age of the Customer

Currently, marketing is in “The Age of the Customer," as it moves toward a command center model. This model allows marketers to bring all of these different channels under one central platform and create a more personalized experience by being able to better understand a customer's wants and needs and choose the appropriate channel of communication.

The infographic also notes that real-time marketing is slowly becoming a more useful tool as customers want to, more than before, communicate with businesses immediately and be updated on new releases as soon as they happen.

As can be seen from these trends digital marketing is now less about flashy advertisements and more about the customer experience leading to a more well-rounded approach.

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